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Women’s History Month: Celebrating Women In The Arts – Spotlight On Dev Bondarin

by Karen Tortora-Lee on March 26, 2011

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Women's History Month

These women of the arts hail from different disciplines, but they all have an indomitable spirit and a luminescent spark that makes them amazing human beings who are out there every day, doing amazing work.

Today we continue our series with Dev Bondarin.

Like so many dedicated theatre women whose role is behind the scenes (rather than on the stage) I met director Dev Bondarin’s work long before I actually met Dev. It’s an interesting thing to meet a person via her work, especially when she’s a director … Because while her voice is all over the production, if she’s done her job right you walk away unable to separate her out from what you just saw.  Sure, you may say “that was an amazing play” but unless you’re finely in synch with all the moving parts that make up a theatre piece you may never understand why you feel that way.  And so, its important that I give particular accolades to Dev today – because she’s so often interpreting other’s words … and I’ve been looking forward to hearing her own words for a while now.


Talk to me about being a woman who does what you do – just overall.

I love what I do and I do take pride in being a female director. Being a woman shapes the lens through which I see the world. While not all of the stories I am drawn to have a feminine theme, they touch me in ways that are specific to being a woman.

Are there days it makes a difference – good or bad?

Every day being a woman in theater gives me the chance to make a positive difference.

However, there are some days when I have felt like my insights are perceived as threatening to other women who are competitive or to men who have a need to suppress. That is always a challenge.

Are there barriers you fought against in the past?

There are barriers out there—many unspoken and some unconscious—to contend with. (Just look at how many women are directing professionally as compared with men.) I try, however, to focus on the positive: what are the opportunities I am finding and what new collaborators have I met who I want to work with again. The more opportunities that my fellow female directors and I find, the more we are chipping away at the bigger barriers. And things are getting better, no question about it.

I am more confident in my work and in collaborating so in that regard everything has become easier. I know more and more who I am as a director and as a woman.

The men that you work with – do they treat you as an equal?

The men I work with are wonderful. I can think of one or two instances when I collaborated with a man who was challenged by my being a woman but they are few and far between so I try to take those encounters in stride.

I am lucky that the majority of those with whom I work—men and women— are good people who encourage a working environment of openness, collaboration, and mutual respect.

Are there some resources you’d like to share that you find particularly helpful as a woman?

I recently joined the League of Professional Theatre Women, an organization that promotes visibility and opportunities for female theater artists. I recently directed in their New Play Festival at New World Stages. The evening featured a diverse collection of work of written and directed by League members.

What’s up next for you, Dev?

I have been lucky to work with many wonderful theater companies that are either run or co-run by women (Prospect Theater Company and the Gallery Players among others). This weekend (That’s tomorrow night!!), I am teaming up with playwright Cody Daigle again for a reading of his new play WHY WE FALL with On the Square Productions. Next week I am directing a reading of James Armstrong’s new play WORTH for Abingdon Theater Company and after that I will be working on the next installment of Prospect Theater Company’s Musical Theatre Lab.


More about Dev Bondarin

Dev Bondarin’s directing credits include Reefer Madness: The Musical and The House of Blue Leaves (The Gallery Players), Snapshots and Map Quest (Prospect Theater Company), A Home Across the Ocean, (MTWorks @ Theatre Row), Romeo & Juliet (EBE Ensemble in Prospect Park), Thucydides (Samuel French Festival – 2009 Winner), and Raised by Lesbians (FringeNYC).

Dev is the Special Project Manager for Prospect Theater Company where she has been a staff member for six seasons. She spearheads and directs the company’s annual musical theater lab of commissions of short musicals by different writing teams on a central theme. Dev loves working with writers and has also directed/developed work with Abingdon Theater Company, Luna Stage, Milk Can Theater, On the Square Productions, and the Manhattan Theatre Source. Dev has assisted Kate Whoriskey, Jim Simpson, and Mary B. Robinson, and has been awarded an SDCF Observership. MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College/BA in Theater Arts and Art History from Brandeis University. Member: Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Associate Member: SDC and the League of Professional Theatre Women.

Find out more at her website:

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